Whether you have a short term goal in mind for the month of January, a change you want to make in 2021, or a complete lifestyle overhaul to make you a better person, it can be tough to stick to your goals.
Just 27% of people made a New Year’s resolution in 2020, although that still equates to over 17 million people. However, 28% of us fail to stick to these resolutions while 47% said they stick to just some of the goals they set themselves.
The most common areas of improvement include more exercise, losing weight, improving our diets, saving money, taking up a new hobby and cutting down on smoking or drinking.
Ezra, one of the leading global providers of digital coaching, has put together seven top tips to help you smash the January blues and stick to your New Year’s resolution whether it be a short-term goal or a longer-term lifestyle change.
Make declarations not resolutions
The first place to start is the resolution itself. All too often we place too much emphasis on a certain goal. For example, ‘I will run a marathon this year’. For many, this creates an immediate and seemingly impossible goal and one which we are bound to fail trying to achieve and so it quickly falls by the wayside.
Instead, make a declaration that you will improve your long-distance running and once you have this as a general aim you can work on what success looks like.
Once you have the overall goal sorted, work on incremental goals that you can achieve on a daily or weekly basis to keep the process realistic and to give yourself little wins you can be proud of. Rather than saying, ‘I’m doing Dry January’, start by not drinking for the first week of the year. Once you’ve achieved that, look to the second and before you know it, it’s February.
Be better than yesterday
With incremental goals, you can build slowly and a great way to do that is to be better than you were the day before. Cut another 10 calories, write or read two more pages of a book, run another half a mile. Whatever it is you’re trying to achieve and whatever speed you do it at, a continuous improvement on a daily basis will soon turn into a notable improvement from your initial starting point.
Make it fun
Enjoy your journey and you’ll find it a lot easier to stick to or achieve. Exercise, for example, doesn’t have to be trudging around a cold wet park every evening and you can incorporate weight loss into games or competitions with others.
That said, something worth doing will require some form of hard work and sometimes it’s tricky to carve fun out of the job itself. If this is the case, make sure you bring some fun by rewarding yourself.
For example, if you eat a takeaway three or more times a week, aim to eat healthily throughout the week and treat yourself to a takeaway at the weekend. It will taste ten times better if you do and gives you some light at the end of the tunnel on a regular basis.
Don’t repeat the past
You may have set a goal of losing weight before, for example. You may have failed each time and if so attempting to do so again may seem like a pointless task.
If this is the case, it’s time to think differently and avoid making the previous mistakes, as well as remembering what worked well. Rather than setting a goal of ‘I must lose weight’, try something new. Set yourself a goal of completing one or two workout videos a week.
Once you start to succeed you can increase this to a workout video every day, or cutting down your calories. Try a new hobby, podcasts, painting, anything to keep your mind busy and yourself focused can be a huge help when trying to stop drinking for example.
Get support and be accountable
No one can do it alone. No matter how headstrong they are. Talking to a friend or sharing your journey each day can bring huge positivity when undertaking a new task. Online support groups or digital coaching can also help you with the support you need.
At the end of each week, you need to be accountable. Have you tried hard enough? Did you succeed? Why did you fail? These are all questions that you might be scared to ask yourself but someone else won’t be and they’re vital if success is going to be your outcome.
Even writing a journal of your thoughts can help if you aren’t ready to share with someone else, but whatever the case, you need to keep a record and make sure you can see the growth as well as any hiccups.
Finally, avoid perfection. No one is perfect, even if they might seem it. Aiming for perfection is an unrealistic goal that is sure to see you beat yourself up and pack it all in when you fail to reach it. Remember, if you do fail, it’s a momentary failure.
There’s nothing stopping you from getting back on the horse and this long-term lifestyle change will do you far more good. You may have the odd cigarette while trying to quit, or the odd pizza while trying to lose weight. Going back to 20 a day or eating poorly week in week out gets you nowhere.
Founder of Ezra, Nick Goldberg, commented: ‘Many of us will be embarking on personal challenges throughout January, in particular, but so many of us do so without properly preparing for the task at hand. Even with our expert coaches, it can take our clients weeks to bring about a positive change in their personal or professional lives and so it’s important that we remember implementing this change is a marathon, not a sprint.
‘The thing to remember is to take it one step at a time, aim for small achievable goals, make yourself accountable so you know what success and failure look like, build on your success and keep at it.
‘If you do these things, you will see a positive change and achieve the things you want to do whether it be something small like improving your day to day efficiency at work or something as big as running a marathon.’